Take Action

Home | Faculty & Research Overview | Research

Research Details

Gut liking for the ordinary: Incorporating design fluency improves automobile sales forecasts, Marketing Science


Automotive sales forecasts traditionally focus on predictors such as advertising, brand preference, life cycle position, retail price, and technological sophistication. The quality of the cars' design is, however, an often neglected variable in such models. We show that incorporating objective measures of design prototypicality and design complexity in sales forecasting models improves their prediction by up to 19%. To this end, we professionally photographed the frontal designs of 28 popular models, morphed the images, and created objective prototypicality (car-to-morph Euclidian proximity) and complexity (size of a compressed image file) scores for each car. Results show that prototypical but complex car designs feel surprisingly fluent to process, and that this form of surprising fluency evokes positive gut reactions that become associated with the design and positively impact car sales. It is important to note that the effect holds for both economy functionality oriented) and premium (identity oriented) cars, as well as when the above-mentioned traditional forecasting variables are considered. These findings are counter to a common intuition that consumers like unusual–complex designs that reflect their individuality or prototypical–simple designs that are functional.




J. R. Landwehr, Aparna Labroo, Anthony Hermann

Date Published



Landwehr, J. R., Aparna Labroo, and Anthony Hermann. 2011. Gut liking for the ordinary: Incorporating design fluency improves automobile sales forecasts. Marketing Science.(3): 416-429.


Explore leading research and ideas

Find articles, podcast episodes, and videos that spark ideas in lifelong learners, and inspire those looking to advance in their careers.
learn more


Review Courses & Schedules

Access information about specific courses and their schedules by viewing the interactive course scheduler tool.


Discover the path to your goals

Whether you choose our Full-Time, Part-Time or Executive MBA program, you’ll enjoy the same unparalleled education, exceptional faculty and distinctive culture.
learn more